Alpha Redux

BY : Seven
Category: Final Fantasy X > General
Dragon prints: 768
Disclaimer: I do not own Final Fantasy X, nor any of the characters from it. I do not make any money from the writing of this story.

LONG 11b! As always, thanks for the reviews and enjoy! :)

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Tidus watched with great interest as Paine began the procedure to gain access to the Home.

She moved her face in the path of a wall-based retina scanner, and he watched as the red light highlighted the planes and angles of her face as it scanned her eyes. A small “ding” confirmed access, and Paine looked directly into the camera lens above the large steel doors. “He’s with me,” she said gruffly, grabbing him by the front of his shand and jerking him in front of the lens. “Let’s go.”

“Howdy,” he added goofily, waving at whoever was behind that thing.

He heard her exasperated sigh and grinned. Annoying Paine was quickly becoming one of his favorite pastimes. It was almost as fun as stealing food from Lulu and running for cover before she could murder him. As the gigantic metal doors slid open, a burst of cool air hit his face and then the second set of smaller doors opened, and Tidus’ mouth dropped to the floor.

‘Rikku sure knows how to throw a party’, was his first thought, as the thumping bass vibrated through the soles of his flimsy island flip-flops.

Even in Zanarkand, Tidus had never seen a party of this magnitude. There we people everywhere! Former Yevonites were dancing with Al Bhed, men were drinking and women were laughing and hanging over the ledges of the five upper levels in the compound. There must’ve been hundreds...maybe a thousand people there. as aas absolute craziness.

Tidusled led to himself. It was awesome.

The dome lights were off, and the only lighting to see anything with was the special effect ones. There were huge disco balls freestanding on high metal poles here and there, and a few strobe lights that he could see, as well as quite a few colorful, dancing beams, probably projected from somewhere in the ceiling. He guessed there was a DJ up there somewhere, but he couldn’t see through the throng of people gathered by the door, much less the hundreds packed together on the dance floor.

He juggled the box he had in his hands. He’d wrapped Rikku’s present in bright pink wrapping paper with the biggest blue bow he could find. The idea was for it to stand out, and he figured it would, even amidst the thousands of gifts he figured she would get tonight. Giving it to her tonight would keep her from suspecting anything about her party tomorrow, but he would have to find her first. And as he squinted through the darkness, he wondered just how he was going to do that.

More importantly, how was he going to find Yuna in all these people? He took a deep breath as the butterflies began anew in his stomach. He’d rehearsed over and over what he was going to say on the way here. He only hoped he could nail it. He hoped it would work.

He looked over at Paine, who was speaking to an older Al Bhed woman. She looked at least forty, but she was wearing skimpy clothing just like all the other women he saw. Tidus thanked his lucky stars that at least she was good-looking. It was weird to him that she was old and dressed like the younger generation. But obviously, that was the norm around there. He watched as she handed Paine a fruity-looking drink. It was probably alcoholic.

“Hey!” he yelled, touching Paine’s bare arm. He could barely hear himself over the music. “I’m gonna go find Yuna! How do I look?”

She looked him over, considering. His hair was finally cut; it was nice to not feel his hair in his eyes anymore and he still had one slightly black eye, but it was fading fast. He’d put on his long red beach shorts with white trim that Yuna had bought him, and he wore a yellow tanktop with the Aurochs logo screened on the front. His Abes chain dangled around his neck, and Yuna’s silver bracelet adorned his right wrist, as always. Paine had convinced him that yellow flip flips would look better than his yellow boots. It was funny, for being so inclined to wear dark clothing, Paine was a pretty good fashion consultant. “Do I look okay?!” he prompted.

She relaxed against the wall. “Goofy!” she smirked, matching his loud tone.

Tidus grinned at her joke. “Okay, it’s gametime then! Wish me luck!”

She raised her drink to him. “Don’t screw this up!”

He reached over and squeezed her bent elbow affectionately. “I won’t!” he promised.

She rolled her eyes and shooed him with her free had before he got too sensitive. Grinning, Tidus turned and began making his way through the crowd. His smile turned into a look of confusion. How was he going to find them? He couldn’t ask anyone; he only understand a little Al Bhed, but he couldn’t speak it to save his life.

He shrugged inwardly. Oh well. Whatever it took, he would find her and make all this stuff right. As he began walking again, the weight of the small velvet box in his pocket thumped against his leg; a constant reminder of just how crucial this meeting was going to be.

Gosh, it was hot. Tidus could feel himself begin to sweat as he pushed his way through the dancing people. Everyone’s body heat made it feel like there was actual steam coming up from the floor or something. His hair was falling into his eyes and onto his ears from the moisture in the air. He wished he could’ve had time actually dance and work up a sweat at this party, but the one he wanted to dance and party with hated him at the moment. So nonetheless, much more important things were at hand. If he could get through the damn crowd, that is.

“Tidus!”

An unfamiliar voice tinged with an Al Bhed accent shouted his name from his right. He turned his head to a woman, who was pointing him out excitedly to her three friends. Upon closer inspection, Tidus deduced that they couldn’t have been older than fourteen; though they dressed like the adults. Tidus figured this was why Rikku was so um, mature dressing.. As the three identically-dressed, blonde girls approached him, one spoke. “You are me best blitz,” she gushed loudly, pressing her hands to her chest.

Tidus grinned. He assumed she meant he was her favorite blitzer, and he thought it was cute that she’d tried to tell him in his language. Thankfully, none of them tried to kiss him or anything, so he was feeling grateful enough to give them a gift to share. “Hold this for a sec?” he requested, handing Rikku’s present to the tallest one on his left.

Grinning all the while, Tidus crossed his arms in front of him, and reached down to pull the hem of his tank top over his head. A rush of air blanketed his damp torso as he handed his Aurcohs tank to the now squealing girl who had spoken to him. He then leaned over and pull them all into a hug, even though their ecstatic screaming was almost deafening over the sound of the music. He gently took Rikku’s gift from the hand of the other stunned girl, and waved goodbye. As he walked away, he threw a 1000-watt grin over his retreating shoulder just to hear them squeal again.

Man, life was good.

“They’re not going to be able to sleep tonight, you know!”

Tidus looked up and to his right at one of the dimly-lit lofts and saw Lulu smiling at him. What the heck was Lulu doing at this crazy party? He’d just seen her that morning in Besaid before he left. In any event, it was nice to see a friendly face that he could speak to. Maybe she’d know where Rikku or Yuna was.

The lofts were basically large semi-circles that protruded from the upper dormitory style levels of the Home. They were specially lit and furnished for the party, and Tidus could only make out Lulu in her dark attire because of the blinking neon green light intermittently bathing her relaxed features.

He frowned. How was he going to get up there without walking through the crazy crowd again? He’d been sticking along the edge, where it was cooler, but he was still wet from sweating and the humidity. “There’s a pod!” Lulu called through cupped hands, pointing toward the door beside her. Tidus sighed happily. Thank goodness for small miracles.

He stepped into the metal cylinder in front of him, and ascended floors. The doors dinged open, and Lulu was turned in her seat, smiling warmly at his arrival. It was nice, her presence was warming him, helping to alleviate his nervousness. A little bit, anyway. “What are you doing here?” he asked, giving Lulu’s bare shoulders a one-armed squeeze and setting Rikku’s gift onto the metal tabletop in front of them.

“A student,” she said, popping candy into her mouth as he plopped down into the cushioned seat.

Did Lulu ever stop eating? Tidus bet she ate more than he and Wakka put together, in a week. He wondered if Yuna would be like this when she was pregnant. “Did you leave with Paine?” she questioned, chewing the candy. Tidus looked at the bag she was holding, Gummy bears.

He scooted his chair closer to her, so they didn’t have to speak so loud. “Yeah, we left this morning. Probably before you did, I think.”

Lulu’s amber eyes bore into his. “You’re here for Yuna, aren’t you?”

At the mention of her name, butterflies began fluttering in Tidus’ stomach. He nodded. Leaning forward, Lulu set sma small plastic bag onto the table next to Rikku’s gift. “Are you planning to bribe her?” she asked, nodding toward the nicely wrapped package.

Tidus chuckled. If only that would work. “Nah, that’s for Rikku.” He shoved his hand into his pocket and pulled out the ever-present velvet box. “This is for Yuna,” he grinned, revealing it to Lulu.

She nodded at him. “Good luck with that.”

He raised his eyebrows. “Thanks,” he said sincerely. He was going to need it. “Well, I’m gonna go find Yuna.” he stood, gathering his gift. “Don’t get wasted, Lulu,” he joked, stepping around his chair and toward the pod.

“I spoke with Yuny thy the way.”

Tidus looked over his shoulder, and a sudden glimmer of hope blossomed in his chest. “Really? What happened?” he queried, sitting back down on the edge of his seat. Please let this be good…

“Nothing monumental. I told her to follow her heart, but to also weigh all aspects of the situation and circumstances.”

He leaned closer to her, locking his eyes on hers. “You didn’t believe it, either.” It was a question that came out as a statement.

“I’m not in your and Yuna’s affairs.” Lulu tilted her head to one side. “But I do know that I watch the love unfurl between the two of you on Yuna’s pilgrimage. I do not believe that something as petty as temptation could damage something so strong.”

So she believed him, then? Lulu could be so confusing sometimes. “Well,” he said, rising again to his feet. “I’m gonna go fix the damage right now.”

“Yuna loves you.” Her warm hand slid over his wrist. “Speak from your heart.”

“Kay,” he said quietly. It hit him all at once; he was touched by how much his friends cared about him and Yuna. He made a silent vow to never let something like this happen ever again.

Encouragement radiated from Lulu’s eyes, and Tidus took it to heart. Stepping backwards, he let his hand fall from hers and to his side as he made his way back toward the pod.

The hallway ran across the front of the doors to the living quarters and extended all the way down to another cylindrical pod. The dance floor was visible over the ledges between the lofts, and it would provide him with a bird’s-eye view of the place. Hopefully, he’d be able to spot Rikku or Yuna. Or both maybe.

Tidus made his way down the hall. Once he’d made it to the middle, he sat Rikku’s gift on the floor, against the wall in front of his feet. He placed his palms on the cool, smooth wooden ledge and began scanning the crowd. The view was nice from up here; he could see everything. In the dimness of the dome, the large crowd looked almost like an ocean. Their gyrating bodies were like rolling waves rippling through the sea. It was pretty neat looking.

Glancing to his right, Tidus discovered that there was in fact, a DJ in the front on a platform surrounded by large machines that he presumed were musical equipment. He shook his head, thinking of how far more technologically advanced the Al Bhed were than the rest of Spira. This place reminded him so much of the late-night clubs in Zanarkand. It was like he’d walked into a portal to another world. Everyone was dancing and having fun; he didn’t see a single person who wasn’t smiling or dancing.

Tidus looked toward the front door where he’d come in with Paine, and spotted her still leaning against the wall, smiling a little and talking to some blonde guy. His eyebrows raised. Well, well well. Paine was getting her mack on. Obviously, since the guy wasn’t lying unconscious on the floor yet. Tidus snorted to himself. This guy must’ve had some good lines to still be standing and have enjoyng the elusive PaineSmile. Leaning further over the rail, he squinted, trying to get a better look at the guy, whose back was to him. He was darker-complected, and dressed in non-Al Bhed attire, instead wearing the cloth pants and a light-colored cotton polo that islanders wore. A slow smile spread across Tidus’ face as the guy leaned over her shoulder to say something in her ear, and his profile was visible.

Jassu.

What was he doing there? Damn, he must’ve left early in the morning by salvage ship. In any event, it seemed that Paine had actually decided to give Jassu a chance. Tidus thought it was awesome; he was a great guy who had the hots for her for the longest. Besides that, he really liked her. He didn’t know how many times Jassu had made him roll his eyes from rambling on and on about Paine thisine ine that. But it kinda made him feel good to know that she was giving him a chance, and things would probably work out.

If only things were that easy for him at the moment.

He sighed, resting on his elbows against the rail. His chain clinked on the edge as he settled himself. He’d rehearsed what he was going to say to her countless times on the trip there. Apologize first, then explain, and hopefully she would forgive him for the misunderstanding. A small niggle of doubt wn thn the back of his mind; maybe woe wouldn’t believe him. But he refused to take that notion seriously, because doing so would open his mind to frightening possibilities that he was totally not ready for.

He threw a leg over his ankle behind him and continued scanning the crowd. Not for the first time since he’d gotten there, he wished he could be sing ing there with Yuna, on good terms, and having fun. That now-familiar empty feeling settled over him at the thought. Gosh, he missed her. His heart felt purposeless without her presence. A hand went up to scratch the side of his still-damp head. He just needed to keep looking until he found her. Even if he saw Brother or Rikku or Cid, even, that would help.

Shit. Cid.

He wondered if he knew why his niece was so upset. Maybe it wasn’t such a good idea to run into him after all. Tidus shuddered at the thought.

As he was thinking, he heard a distinct giggle from beneath him. He leaned over the rail to investigate, and he absently wondered how his ears had picked out the sound over the powerful thump of the music and the loud din of mingled voices. He craned his torso over the edge so far that his head was hanging upside down. What he saw made his breath catch in his throat, and caused a little movement in his pants.

Rikku and Yuna were dancing about twenty feet apart, with a groups of probably ten guys each. Rikku was dressed in a skimpy outfit as usual, but….so was Yuna.

The love of his life was wearing a sky blue and white bra-like top that looked much like a bikini top and not a shirt. Her toned stomach was visible, all the way down to her matching skirt, which was cut in three pieces and held together loosely by widely knit leather. His eyes were drawn to the ruby-red thong straps coming from inside her skirt. Her long legs were bare to just under the knee, where red sleeves were covering her calves down into her shoes. Her feet were clad in blue boots, which were split down the center with a white-ruffle-type fabric surrounding the cuff. Her long ponytail was swinging behind her legs as she danced, and blue ruffled sleeves covered her waving forearms.

She looked so hot.

He didn’t know how to feel. He had never, ever seen her dance. He didn’t know she could. He had never, ever seen her dressed like this, and he didn’t think she even liked those kind of clothes. He thought Yuna would be self-conscious in those clothes. In spite of his excited surprise, dread wiggled its way into his stomach. Was she dressed like that to get another guy? Did she always dress like this when she went off with Rikku and Paine? Did she even want him anymore? From the way she was smiling and obviously enjoying the attention, he wasn’t so sure.

He swung his upper body back up over the ledge and stood up straight. He was suddenly terrified, and a little sad at the same time. He was upset that she liked the attention from other guys, and scared she would just blow him off if he tried to talk to her.

A sudden flame of self-directed rage flashed through him. ‘Stop being a pansy!’ he thought angrily, slamming his fist on the ledge. He hadn’t done anything wrong! Why was he acting like he’d done something wrong? It was a misunderstanding. Things would work out if he quit wallowing around in this mess and just went and fixed it.

Assured, he nodded sharply to himself, snatched up Rikku’s gift, and walked down to the pod at the end of the hall. He was going to fix this shit, and get those guys to quit looking at Yuna like that. Adrenaline was rushing through his veins, and his breath quickened as the pod descended floors. All the stress, all the heartache for the both of them was about to be alleviated. He loved her too much to let her go over a misunderstanding. As he pushed his way through the crowd toward where he thought she was, Lulu’s words echoed in his head. ‘I do not believe that something as petty as temptation could damage something so strong.’ She’d said.

Neither did he. His walk was more determined.

Once he made it down to the small throng of guys dancing with his woman, that’s right, his woman, he stopped in his tracks. The adrenaline was surging so hard that his head was throbbing with it. ‘Do or die,’ he thought. Fight or flight. He chose to fight.

His arm reached out and pulled a guy around by the shoulder, so he could get to Yuna. He figured it probably pissed the guy off, but he didn’t care. The other guy next to him wisely moved out of the way, and Tidus walked up to a dancing Yuna and placed his free hand on the damp small of her back. “Hey!” he said in her ear loudly, over the music.

He felt, rather than heard, her gasp ugh ugh his hand on her. The surprise was evident in her widened eyes as she turned to him, and her mouth hung open. He didn’t know if she was surprised to se him there, or surprised that he’d seen her dancing and dressed like this. It might’ve been both. But gosh, he didn’t care. He was just happy to see her…

“Can I talk to you?” he asked, pulling back and looking at her neon-tinted features. She was gorgeous.

Yuna regarded him with a tilt of her head. Then she nodded jerkily, obviously still in shock. Her hair was in her eyes, and limp-looking like his. She shook her head a little and tucked a strand behind her ear. “Okay, we-we can talk in Rikku’s place!” she suggested, brushing past him toward the pod, much to the disappointed groans from her dancing buddies.

Fuckers. Tidus felt this irrational feeing of pride and the urge to turn around and flip them all off because he got the girl and not them. Hmm. Maybe men really were ruled by their impulses like Lulu always said.

He turned around quickly, and realized that Yuna was about four steps in front of him. His breath quickened, as he began to panic a little; he didn’t want to lose her in this crowd. He hadn’t seen her in three days or heard her voice… His pace quickened to a jog, and he bumped a few people as he caught up with her and slid his hand into hers. She slowed to almost a stop, and her eyes slowly went from their joined hands to his face. Her expression was unreadable in the darkness, but she didn’t let go.

Hope began to blossom in him at her acceptance, and he tightened his grip on her warm hand. As they approached the pod and stepped inside, he thought of the age-old saying: “you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone.” Helly lly didn’t. He’d never realized how soft her hands were, or how they fit perfectly into his. He couldn’t believe he never knew she liked to dance, either. At that moment, he silently vowed that he would never take her for granted, and he would learn every tiny thing about her that there was to learn.

Just when he was relaxing a little, Yuna let took her hand from his. She backed away, placing a couple of feet of distance between them. Tidus watched in dismay as she leaned back against the wall. His work was definitely cut out for him. He studied her body language; Yuna’s eyes were downcast, and her free hand was playing with her skirt. She said nothing. Actually, she looked terribly uncomfortable. He hated this. It hurt him to know she was anything but happy and relaxed around him.

Once the pod doors slid open on their floor, Yuna kept her eyes straight ahead and walked out. He followed her down the hall, racking his brain for what he was going to say. His rehearsal speech was out the window. Seeing her tonight under these wild circumstances had thrown a loop in his plans. But he digressed; maybeing ing Lulu’s advice and speaking from his heart would be better.

Maybe actually speaking to her would be better.

He hit himself in the head with his palm. Shit. He’d been so lost in his thoughts that he hadn’t spoken a word to her. Yuna was currently in front of him, punching in the code on the number pad outside Rikku’s door. A small green light blinked on the side of the small panel, and the doors slid open. She walked in first, and Tidus followed her into the nicely-furnished, air conditioned room. However, Yuna took him by surprise and spun to face him. “What are you doing here?” she asked, crossing her arms and glaring at him angrily.

Tidus’ mouth opened and closed like a fish. He’d never seen her this angry before. Not even on the ship that day. Was her chest actually heaving? “Hey, calm down a sec, Yuna.” He tried to reason, setting Rikku’s well-handled gift down on the coffee table. “Let me just-“

“No!” she boomed, lifting her forearms to her chest and throwing them out violently to her sides. “I most certainly will not!” she began walking closer to him, and Tidus unconsciously took a step back. He’d never seen her this out of control. She was so angry it was actually scaring him. Once she was squared up with him, Tidus could feel the heat rolling off her body and the flush on her chest and neck. Her eyes flashed with her ire.

Hey, had she been drinking?

“Who do you think you are?” she hissed, interrupting his thoughts. “You can’t just walk in here and act like you own me.”

He frowned, biting the inside of his cheek to keep from speaking. He wanted to defend himself, but it seemed Yuna had been holding so much inside. Maybe this was good for her. He wanted her to take out her anger on him if it made her feel better.

She continued glaring at him, looking him straight in the eye. “You hurt me,” she bit out.

Tidus’ heart simply broke at the sight of a single tear sliding down her alabaster cheek. “You said all those things and you made me believe and I only wanted you…umph!”

A dull thud accompanied the first blow to his chest. Yuna grunted again, pounding his chest with the bottom of her fist. Tidus swallowed the lump beginning to form in his throat in spite of the blunt pain in his chest. She had beo huo hurt. He couldn’t believe she cared about him this much. This wasn’t the pain of a woman scorned; a woman angry because some other woman was with her man -her property. This was the pain of a truly broken heart.

Yuna was crying openly now, hiccupping, and continuing to hit his chest. It hurt, but he wanted it to hurt. He wanted to feel what he had so stupidly allowed her to feel. This prompted another silent vow from him to her. He would never, ever, allow her to be hurt like this by himself oyoneyone else. Never again.

Finally, she had tired herself out, and her hits were nothing more than angry pats. “How could you? I loved you,” she hiccupped, weakly resting her forehead against his bare chest. I love you. I love you…”

Tears of relief filled Tidus’ eyes as he wrapped his arms around her slight frame and brought her closer to him. He buried his nose in her hair and let them fall. “I love you too Yuna,” he whispered, “so much…”
hen hen why wasn’t I enough?” she asked brokenly. Fuck, how had he managed to make her feel so bad?

“But you are,” he whispered into her hair. He pulled back, grabbing her by the shoulders. “Yuna look at me.”

She did, and the raw pain he saw there was like a stab to his own heart. He had never seen her this unguarded before. Not since Macalania. “I did not cheat on you.”

Her mouth fell open, and her red-rimmed eyes narrowed. “Please don’t do this,” she sniffed. “I saw you.”

He shook his head. “No, you saw some girl kiss me. She asked for a hug and I gave her one. Then, I was pulling away and she kissed me.” He explained.

She sill looked disbelieving. “Why didn’t you tell me this on the way home then?” she asked softly, but the skepticism was evident in her voice. “You basically admitted to me that you had done it.”

He shook his head again. “First, Yuna I’d never lie to you. Ever.” He reached a hand down and grabbed hers, which was in a fist. “Second, we had a misunderstanding. I thought you were upset about me fighting with Bickson and Abus that day. I thought when you said you’d seen me, that you’d seen me fighting and you were ashamed of me.” He saw something flash across her face at his comment.

“But you said-“

“Our whole conversation was all messed up, Yuna,” He said quickly, dropping to one knee in front of her. “We were talking about different things.” He concentrated on her small, slender hand, unballing her fist and curling his fingers under hers.

She regarded him in silence, obviously trying to decide i was was telling the truth. He knew she wanted to believe, but she had been so convinced that he wanted someone else. Her attire was still on his mind; he was still wondering if she was out to get another guy tonight. Or if she already had. Man, he hoped not. That would make things sooo much worse.

He looked up into her puffy-red-rimmed eyes, and ran his thumb soothingly over the top of her hand. “Yuna. I love you,” he said softly, putting his free hand over his heart. “I came all the way here to fix things and make this right. I know I hurt you, but I didn’t mean to. Nothing happened between me and that girl or…or me and any other girls. You’re the only woman I want. Being without you makes me feel useless.” He choked out the last syllable, and she became blurry in the tears that filled his eyes. “I’ve missed you so bad…”

Tidus didn’t know if she was going to believe him, but at least she hadn’t let go of his hand yet. He wasn’t for sure, but he was betting that despite her anger and uncertainty, she couldn’t help but need his touch. Like he so desperately needed hers. Like he so desperately needed her…


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To be continued…


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